The pointed glass roofs over the six large courtrooms stunningly reproduce the port and sailboats on the Scheldt river.The structures also houses 26 small courtrooms capped with wooden and steel roofs. All of the roofs are linked together by a central glass-covered area (traditionally known as the Salle des Pas Perdus).
Glass: symbolic, yet practical
Glass is everywhere, rendering the workings of justice more transparent and giving the citizenry pride of place. The architects opted for glass because it is so multifunctional, providing natural light, thermal control, solar protection, fire resistance, acoustic insulation and a choice between transparency and privacy.
The use of ecological materials and natural light emphasise the importance of sustainable development in this project. Air conditioning is provided by a combination of natural ventilation and night-time cooling. During the summer months, the temperature is controlled partly by the solar protection provided by the glass, whilstin the winter, the temperature is controlled using convection heaters equipped with thermostats. The glass plays a role here too since its low-emissivity coating provides enhanced thermal insulation.